UNISON Vote Unanimously at the AGM to support IWGB’s campaign of Boycotting University of London’s Senate House

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At our AGM on the 13th of February 2019, UNISON University of Birmingham branch members voted unanimously to support IWGB’s campaign of Boycotting Senate House, as a way of putting pressure upon the University management to bring staff back in-house. We will also send a donation shortly. The University of Birmingham UCU branch have also passed the motion at their branch members’ meeting, and as such the two Unions will actively dissuade UoB staff from holding events in any of the following buildings, until the outsourced workers’ demands are met and they are brought back in-house:

  • the central academic bodies & administrative functions based at Senate and Stewart House,
  • the Warburg Institute,
  • the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies,
  • the University of London Halls of Residence,
  • and Student Central BUT EXCLUDING the colleges of the federal University.

For more info about the campaign, visit this website: https://iwgb.org.uk/en/boycottsenatehouse

We would like to express our utmost solidarity with our fellow trade union activists and members who are fighting against outsourcing and union busting tactics, and for improved conditions of work. We are facing very similar issues on the UoB campus, especially since the creation of the new wholly-owned subsidiary company called ‘The Edgbaston Park Hotel’. Last month, management officially refused to recognise trade unions for new staff. More information can be found here

The motion supporting IWGB’s campaign reads:

Motion of boycott in support of outsourced workers at the central University of London

Background

This branch notes that outsourced workers at the central University of London* have been campaigning since September 2017 to end outsourcing and be made direct employees of the university. This campaign has the support of the vast majority of the outsourced workers at the University of London demonstrated by the fact that in April 2018 they held the largest outsourced workers’ strike in the history of UK higher education.

This branch further notes that outsourced workers, the majority of whom are migrant workers or BAME, suffer from far worse terms and conditions than the majority white British colleagues that are directly employed by the university. They are also far more likely to suffer from bullying, discrimination and unlawful deduction of wages.  This branch further notes that the University of London has gone back on its initial commitment to end outsourcing, with cleaners and catering staff being told that an in-house option will be presented alongside other commercial bids when the contracts are up for tender in 2020 and 2021, leaving the possibility open for the university to drag the process on indefinitely.

This branch further notes that the university has ignored all calls by the workers to go into substantive negotiations with them and the union that represents the vast majority of the outsourced workers, the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain. Consequently, the workers have been excluded from the University of London’s facilities management review, a review that would have a significant impact on the work they do and on their terms and conditions. Rather than engage with the workers, the university has opted for strong arm tactics to try and break their campaign, employing dozens of strike breakers and extra security, at a significant cost.

This branch therefore resolves to:

  1. Organise a boycott of University of London central administration (including Senate House, Stewart House, the Warburg, the Institute of Historical Research, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and Student Central) until the outsourced workers’ demands are met and they are brought inhouse.

The boycott will require members to not organise or attend events at these buildings

  1. Inform members of the boycott and the reasons behind the boycott of University of London central administration (including Senate House, Stewart House, the Warburg, the Institute of Historical Research, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, and Student Central).
  2. Support the motion to this effect being brought to the next UCU conference.

* comprising the central academic bodies & administrative functions based at Senate and Stewart House, the Warburg Institute, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, the University of London Halls of Residence, and Student Central BUT EXCLUDING the colleges of the federal University.

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